Once upon a time I attended a leadership workshop led by the pastors from Woodcrest Chapel in Columbia, MO. During their session, they talked the concept of 80/20. In a nutshell, 80/20 is a way to think about our relationships more realistically – which can really reduce frustration.
I love my husband’s passion for winning. I enjoy watching him play sports with the enthusiasm of a 12 year old. I think it’s cute. But I have had seasons when I have NOT enjoyed standing across a net from him and experiencing that competitive instinct directed at me.
Here’s what he does that I really hate. I hate it when he returns my serve and hits the back corner of the court while I stand there and watch it drop in. I also hate it when I give him a short return and he charges the net and manages to hit the ball cross court, barely clearing the net and leaving me lunging for a ball that’s already sitting dead on the court.
He tells me things like, “You know that I am not a good enough player to actually make that shot.” And he actually believes this. What I believe is that what he is saying is his truth, but he is unable to factor in that unconscious drive to win a point. He doesn’t see this competitive spark in himself. It’s so HIM he doesn’t know another way.
I have proof. Last weekend I managed to make some moves of my own, charging in a couple times myself. In a non-competitive situation, we might have enjoyed some net play, but Pete took advantage of my position and lobbed the ball over my head, just grazing the back line for a winner. After the point was won, he said, “Oh man, I could have tried to hit that back to you for you to practice your game at the net.”
“Yes,” I thought, “you could, but you won’t!”
This is an example of 80/20. 80% of the time I love my husband because of who he is; 20% of the time my husband irritates me because he is who he is. This is true in all relationships – whether at work or home. The things that we love about a person inevitably come with other “things” that we aren’t crazy about. But if Pete loses his 20%, it puts the 80% at risk too.
Are you asking yourself or others to change the 20% without regard for what might happen to the 80%? What if we can learn to accept each other’s 20%? I’ve decided (we’ll see if I can do it!) to stop bugging Pete about those accidental great winners that he hits on occasion. Let the man have his fun!